Code can be defined as a combination of symbols or signs, which, in an established system, acquires a certain value, message or representation, in other words, a significance.
Throughout the history of mankind, codes have always been present, each of which in its own time, such as the Egyptian hieroglyphs. Since then, current events have developed from the simplest to the most complex types of codes, for various uses, such as Morse code, bar code, QR code, among others.
On the other hand, the development of technologies, as well as the emergence of new needs by contemporary society, have led to the diffusion of the virtual, be it space, person, action or information, becoming part of the daily lives of the majority of the world population. The massive intervention of new technologies has opened to a new challenge: to understand how much the virtual situates us more or less close to reality. The exhibition Códigos [Codes], therefore, proposes the reversal of real and virtual spaces.
Usually, the exhibition room, the real space, presents objects to be seen, appreciated. In this exhibition, however, the real space shows only QR codes, that is, symbols and their meanings. As for the objects to be featured, in this case the place, is moved to a virtual environment, where the only access is given through the QR codes.
About bar and QR codes
Bar code is the graphical representation of a numerical sequence used to identify a product. Both graphical and numerical representations have the same value. This set of numbers is unique, as the same combination cannot be applied to different products.
As for the QR (Quick Response) is a two-dimensional barcode that can have its meaning easily accessed through the camera of most mobile phones. Initially, it was used for cataloguing parts of vehicles during the production process and has now been used for various purposes, such as inventory management and stock control in industries and commerce, as well as marketing and communication campaigns in magazines and advertisements, registering detailed information of addresses and URLs. Nowadays, there are already free apps for mobile phones that help users to read these codes, such as QR Reader (IOS), QR Droid (Android), among others.
Works of art have the power to blow our mind, opening the doors of our perception.
When poetry, film or a certain object of art captures our imagination and our soul, we are no longer the same person.
This exhibition poetically features aspects of three central subjects: spatial perception, time and memory. It proposes a new space, sometimes through light, sometimes through time. Not only chronological, but also the time that leads us directly to memory. Memory that can be related to a lifetime or to a single moment. The idea here is, but not only so, to open the pores, so to ventilate those three concepts: space, time and memory.
The artist João Carlos de Souza addresses these issues through his “constructed landscapes.” One of the most delicate questions of our time is that there are no more natural landscapes. Through the light sculpture Balançar [To swing], the artist reminds us of these spaces. It also plays with the interior setting of the exhibition space, highlighting it through a series of works built with fluorescent lights. Still, the magical eye of the Porta Cora Coralina [Cora Coralina door], the viewer is taken to another place.
At first glance, Alexandre Frangioni seams to present less poetic works. They propose discussions as of the values of contemporary societies, from the harsh monetary point of view, related to accumulation and transformation. Among other works, however, through a closer look, Cofres [Safes] discuss the real importance of what they are protecting by the reversal of its original function of guarding and hiding, reminding us, in a poetic and playful way, what really matters. Frangioni’s works situate us in a place between childhood and maturity, in the constant exercise of time and memory. Here, one can get the synthesis of his work poetics.
They are two artists moved by the will to investigate and to experience different ways of expression. They produce a singular art, recognizable within the different languages they explore. They are two artists showing paths ahead of their time.
In commemoration of its twenty years of activity, Espaço Ophicina open its doors to the Collective Occupation “the desire of the other”, which brings together works of thirteen artists. “The desire of the other” began with the proposal of challenging the poetics of those artists, aiming “to choose the place of the other” in the Espaço Ophicina.
During the succeeding meetings, the arguments, followed by reflections and then by the doubts, pointed out the paths that each artist would guide their researches on “desire”. Some concepts reverberated and encouraged the creative processes: “man’s desire is the desire of the other”; “desire is initially acquired by the other in a more confused way” (Lacan); “the desire as a fault” (Plato); “we can only desire what we do not have” (Socrates); “desire is like a pendulum that takes us from pain to boredom…. desire can only be one thing: the will to power! Everything is in the rank of abundance, exuberance! “(Nietzsche); “desire is a set of passive syntheses that devises partial objects, the flows and the bodies, and which functions as units of production” (Deleuze & Guattari). What was at first just an occupation, the reflections about these sentences were transforming the creative processes into effective proposals.
“Game of wishes” stablished connections between the different times. By using the Tetris game aesthetics, the proposal referred to the past, while appropriating the desire of the other artists of the exhibition and then represent them, incorporating part of the aesthetics of each one as a present time and using everyone’s desire as a future.
In Latin America, Contemporary Art practices steadily gain more ground and distance from the Western traditions that had always influenced a large portion of the creators of the New World. At present, we can appreciate artists that manage to express universal traits with authenticity and uniqueness. Brazil, starting with the creations of the 1922 Modern Art Week, initiated a modern stage within the different manifestations of art. It was a decisive moment, when they took on the artistic vanguard of the continent.
There have been many outstanding artists whose names are essential to analyze the visual practices of this South American country: Ivan Serpa, Lygia Clark, Helio Oiticica, and Adriana Varejão are some of the artists that spring to mind. They are all deeply related to the process of change and progress in Brazil and demonstrate signs of being at the vanguard in all their pieces. These aspects are also well represented in the productions of Alexandre Frangioni (São Paulo, 1967).
About Frangioni, we have to keep in mind that he is a self-taught in the universe of visual arts. He is a professional Engineer, but started working with painting in 2005 as a way of disconnecting from the stress of his profession: “I was looking for an activity to dedicate myself to after retiring and found in painting an easy way to manage my time and space. In addition, it is directly related to drawing, which I have enjoyed since I was very young,” he says.
Thus, Frangioni’s art evolved and, starting from the two-dimensional perspective, he kept experimenting until he found the way that currently distinguishes him. His point of view had always been focused on traditional and modern art. However, situations and problems in his country made him to question the manifestation that he worked with – painting – until this medium began evolving and became three-dimensional, a modus operandi that is related to his profession. That is to say, Frangioni not only practiced his creative side but also his engineering skills through the planning, development, and execution of his work, through advanced technology. That is how he started using 3D and lenticular printing, which are part of a more object and process-centered method.
Two highly significant exhibitions, which were turning points in his career, are the ones he presented in the Museu de Arte in Blumenau (2015) and in the Campo Grande Museu de Arte Contemporânea (2016). Both were loaded with ideas and exercises that defined his style, and he was able to use the space as an important and supplementary factor for the pieces. Likewise, the series Êxodo [Exodus] grew and improved within the exhibition space.
Frangioni speaks about memory and time, two aspects that are tightly linked in his proposals. Likewise, he reflects about and analyzes the values (social, commercial, political, economic) that exist in contemporary societies. The economic value – central axis – is transformed into the raw materials of his thoughts, and therefore his discourse is based on maintaining the memories of the economic hardships in Brazil with hyper-inflation in the 80’s and 90’s. I emphasize, and so does he, that “it is not done as a critique of his society but as a way to bring to the forefront a cultural fact and the social values dictated by certain events within his culture, that is to say, oblivion.” Êxodo, thus, approaches the way in which money is accumulated, transformed, and its impact on different societies. The use of the piggy bank, each with its own currency, is a selection with a very strong universal semantic charge. His iconography is easily interpreted by the public. I believe that he is not interested in making the interpretation of his works difficult for the viewer; he likes direct messages without superfluous codes. Each piggy carries different currency depending on the country of exhibition, as the nomenclature of money in Brazil is different from that of the United States, a country that is a superpower. The piggy banks even gather around or follow the Charging Bull of Wall Street, a business central where the stock exchange determines the high and low stocks of a company.
Alexandre Frangioni understands how to use codes, symbols, and universal iconography to move and reflect about the message he wants to convey. His originality makes him the owner of a unique and different production in the context of Brazilian art, due in part to his engineering skills. The memory and the past of Brazil are visualized through this creator’s activities, who – through his self-taught techniques – represents his country in every exhibition, art fair, and event he participates in.
Daniel G. Alfonso. Teórico del arte (Cuba).
AAL Arte Al Limite Magazine
This series of works deals with the relation of values.
The work was initially created when I received a series of old bills of Cruzeiro, Cruzados and Cruzados Novos (all former Brazilian currencies), which belonged to a friend who was an accumulator (not only of money, but of all type of materials, like newspapers, clothes, catalogues, pots…). At first, one of my concerns about the new generations was to understand the effects of past hyperinflation in Brazil. On the other hand, those who actually lived that problem seams to have forgotten about it and have no needs in maintaining alive this concern, so that can be learned by our current and the future generations.
It was thinking about this, that I have produced a set of works using the money bills and other materials related to money as raw materials.
The intension of the Moeda [Currency] series is to address monetary value and its ability to be transformed into material possessions. This happens when I use the bills as a support for the production of low value objects (such as a kite), or in the intervention (with the word NO) on the bill itself, in order to modify its value, or even adding ordinary objects (safes, price labellers) that are directly linked to the value of money itself.
Therefore, I propose to the observer a reflection on the possible relations between values, historical and contemporary, through the different types of currencies and the relations between the objects and materials presented in the works.
The name itself of the exhibition – Coins – paves the way between what is saved or what is forever lost. Coin does not have the same value as money. Coins one distributes shamelessly. Coins we give to the homeless not to be inconvenienced, we leave them at restaurants not to have to carry them in our pockets. We dispose of them, as we divest them from our body.
At the same time the word Coin carries the weight and stigma of Monetary Value. This Coin we do not wish to discard. In spite of the economy being the sphere of production, of circulation, of value (which value?) and finally of politics and power.
In Coins, Alexandre Frangioni proceeds to reflect on the possible relationships between historic and present values. That fired the spark for the discussion, through his works, on all the values and how they relate with the passing of time, with the breaking up of time, even while time continues without interruption.
By producing the works with old and null/worthless money, these objects attained value, thus, for what they are not, by the intensity of denial of which they are capable.
Alexandre drinks from the source of Brazilian artists, masters such as Nelson Leirner, who by means of the interventions in everyday objects, question the system and the values in art and in society; of Cildo Meireles, who imprinted subversive phrases and of resistance on Brazilian paper money, during the period of military dictatorship. And of course, on the ready-mades of the French artist Marcel Duchamp, who bring forward the strong Dadaist expression via the use of industrialised objects.
The works in the exhibition space overcome the suggestion of three-dimensional objects that make an effort to define a space in the world: they stage an event. Such an act, of which we are witnesses, presents itself like an ephemeral crack in real space, leading us to a vivid or imagined past.
The challenge, to the observer, is precisely to detect in the exhibition Coins, a concrete narrative, as the works seem to compose an impossible ballet, actively provoking the spectator.
The vision of the artist is not only a position – it is mainly an attitude towards the relationships between memory, time, money, value and the real importance of the humane.